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Comment Wow, just wow. (Score 5, Insightful) 107

So apparently an ISP being able to tell people up front what their fees and charges will be is a

burdensome requirements [...] that impose serious and unnecessary costs

I guess this explains why big ISPs like Comcast and such manage to fuck up billing people on a regular basis. It's just too goddamn hard for companies to know what they charge for their services.

Comment Re:As soon as you're invited to visit, I agree (na (Score 1) 189

Perhaps the government has no right to search X, for any X, but they DO have the right to say "no you can't come in", or impose any conditions they feel are proper before granting entry.

False equivalency. You have the right to exclude others from your home because you own your home. Your rights of ownership are founded, ultimately, in the homesteading of previously unowned land though the labor of an original owner, plus an unbroken chain of voluntary contracts passing the rights to that land from its original owner to you. The government, by contrast, has no such legitimate claim to ownership of the entire country, and consequently does not have the right to exclude anyone from entering.

On the other hand, it would be wrong for me to block your entry into your *own* house... Unlike people who wish to visit, peope have a right to enter their own home.

Anyone with the right to enter their own home also has the right to invite others to enter. It would be wrong for you to block the entry of my invited guests into my house.

Once you're in the US (and while your outside the US), your rights as a human being should be fully respected.

Inside, outside, or in transition, your rights as a human being should always be respected.

Comment Re:Why is income equality necessarily good? (Score 1) 474

Bill Gates is only going to buy so many TVs, cars, and houses. Doubling his wealth is not going to change his spending habits.

It won't change his personal consumption habits, no. Instead he would spend the extra wealth on capital investments, which improve the efficiency of production and allow vast numbers of other people to buy more TVs, cars, and houses at lower prices.

Consumption is important, of course, but all economic progress comes from the part of our income which we don't immediately spend on short-lived consumer goods.

You're also conflating wealth with money. They aren't the same thing. Bill Gates has a lot of wealth, but most of it isn't in the form of money. Instead, he owns shares in various investments. Even if it were, people would simply switch to an alternate form of currency long before the symptoms you're attributing to "wealth concentration" became apparent.

There is one factor which could have the effect you're referring to, but it only occurs in non-free markets. It is not always the case that more capital investment equals lower prices; over-investment can create a situation where the prices necessary to cover the cost of the capital are above the optimal point on the supply & demand curve. Imagine, for example, that you can sell 10,000 of a certain widget per year at an optimal price point of $10 each, and that your cost per widget is $8 (for $20k profit). If you rent a machine for $50,000/year you can lower production costs (excluding the rent) to $5 each. Under normal circumstances this would be an uneconomical investment, since the rent would raise the overall cost to $10 per widget, eliminating your profit. (Raising the price is not an option since that would reduce both the quality sold and overall revenues.) However, if a regulation were introduced requiring the use of this machine it would change the parameters: now the optimal price point (for widgets produced with this machine) is perhaps 8,000 units at $18, and you only make $14,000 in profit while 2,000 potential customers do without widgets. The same argument can be applied if the machine instead comes with a tax-funded subsidy rather than a mandate. With the subsidy included, the real cost per widget is still $18, but the buyer only sees $10 at the point of sale and the remaining $8 is spread among all the taxpayers—reducing the money they have left over to spend on widgets and other goods. Any market intervention (regulation, tax, subsidy, monetary policy, etc.) which either rewards or punishes capital investment, and thus shifts the allocation of resources away from the optimal balance, reduces the efficiency of the market and the purchasing power of the average citizen.

Comment Re:There are a few specific things they do (Score 1) 474

But earning 4 times the national average is clearly not equal.

You're leaving out half the story here. If two people given similar opportunities make different choices, and as a result one of them ends up earning four times as much as the other, that isn't inequality. They each had an equal chance at earning that income; one took advantage of that opportunity and the other did not. The thing we should be striving for is equal opportunity, not equality of outcome. It is only natural that someone who takes the long view and makes difficult choices should end up better off than someone else in the same circumstances who focuses only on the present.

On the subject of inherited wealth, this applies just as much to families as it does to individuals. True, the recipient of the inheritance has been granted an unearned opportunity which others lacked. (Unearned by the recipient, that is—the parent earned the right to make that gift.) Taking the larger view, however, any family with even a small amount of discretionary income has the option of saving and investing and passing those investments down to the next generation, following a long-term strategy which will eventually result in a sizeable inheritance. This demonstrates how different choices at the family level over the course of multiple generations can produce unequal outcomes from equal opportunities.

Our choices make all the difference, not just for ourselves but for our descendents as well, and that is exactly as it should be. The inequality we should be concerned about is inequality under the law, and especially the variety of legal inequality which results in property earned by one individual or family being unjustly seized and granted instead to some other individual or group. This is an attempt to force equal outcomes by perversely punishing those who make better choices.

Comment Re:Once you take away the need for FT benefits (Score 3, Informative) 145

Dunno where you work, but around these parts all the part time jobs are scheduled by the week, and half of them will fire you if you can't show up in 30 minutes when they call you in for the lunch rush or inventory night. Oh, you're at your other job? Oh your other job wants you from 11-2PM next week too? Tough shit, but hey, you only lose half your income.

Comment Re:An allegation has been made. (Score 1) 903

I'm expecting that whoever does this investigation is going to act in the shareholders' best interest, which among other things means not exposing the company to massive liabilities in court. If the investigation supports the allegations, then those responsible are going to get canned.

-jcr

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